How Alcohol Fuel May Power Us to New Heights in Sustainability
News Alcohol fuel’s potential value as a clean, multifaceted resource could very well power our daily lives into more sustainable terrain. A leading voice in the industry explains how.
Mediaplanet: What are potential benefits of using alcohol fuel instead of petroleum?
David Blume: Alcohol fuel (bioethanol) has 98 percent cleaner emissions than gasoline. It is cheaper; alcohol from the billions of tons of food processing waste costs only $12 per barrel to make. It can reverse global warming since crops used for making alcohol take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere while burning oil adds to carbon dioxide. It’s 106 octane; better than the best premium gas you can buy. This makes it burn cooler, cleaner and with less vibration than gasoline while boosting horsepower. Properly designed engines like the new Cummins alcohol truck engine get better mileage than diesel or gasoline.
MP: What can alcohol fuel run besides cars?
DB: Albert Einstein invented the alcohol refrigerator 80 years ago. You can use it as a safe indoor cooking or heating fuel replacing wood, propane, electricity or kerosene. We can use alcohol fuel to produce electricity; General Electric generator turbines are now certified for use with alcohol fuel. Standard generators around the world can run on renewable bioethanol with minor changes and virtually no emissions.
"Switching to alcohol would save every American thousands of tax dollars a year, increase their buying power, bring home our troops to work in the 26 million new jobs created by the alcohol economy, while cleaning up our air, our water and make our farming permanently sustainable."
Alcohol can power lighting in developing countries and is used by campers around the world. Brazil airlines are powered by alcohol fuel and for the U.S. military—and the U.S. economy as a whole—dependence on oil presents real threats to national security. Over the last five years, the U.S. Department of Defense has begun to act to reduce these energy security threats by helping to create alternatives to petroleum-based fuels. One of the most promising is biofuels. Today, these efforts are beginning to have an effect. Advanced biofuels that can act as drop-in replacements to traditional gasoline, diesel or jet fuel are being produced today.
MP: What use would a biorefinery plant be to a municipality?
DB: Our plants can help mediate the overloading of landfills with food processing waste that generates climate-killing methane. We can inexpensively clean up secondary waste- water (sewage) to current and future discharge standards turning sewage treatment plants into profit centers rather than operational overheads. Our processes can save municipalities collectively trillions of dollars a year and give us renewable replacement fuel for city fleets as well as other high-return co-products. Powering municipal vehicle, school busses, including mass transit inexpensively saves tax dollars for badly needed infrastructure maintenance.
MP: How would that impact the economy and the environment?
DB: The DOE has calculated that switching from oil to alcohol would provide 26 million permanent, non-exportable jobs in the U.S. alone, virtually ending unemployment. Advanced fuel replacement programs would lower the cost of clean wholesome, organic or near organic food in conjunction with alcohol production.
Transitioning from toxic and finite fossil fuel dependence to clean, renewable and locally produced bioethanol would end half a trillion dollars a year of tax payer expense in patrolling the Middle East to ensure an oil supply. The loss of life of American military men and women would be reduced dramatically. Alcohol use would do away with air pollution in our cities from fuel burning. Blume Distillation is part of a solution to inject more than a trillion dollars into the economy annually, which was formerly drained out to pay for foreign oil. Our farm economy would be stabilized with a mixture of fuel and food crops while eliminating the need for farm subsidy payments from our tax dollars. Every item in the economy would drop in price, since all products made in the U.S. use energy from oil, which is the single largest factor in price changes. Being the least expensive fuel, alcohol makes everything less expensive, including food.
BTX makes up over 40 percent of some of our grades of gasoline. It is an oil refining toxic waste product and is the majority of the volume of fracking oil; it kills tens of thousands of people a year with cancer. Alcohol replacement of fuel would reverse global warming. The Pentagon believes that global climate change is the greatest national threat and will wreak havoc costing trillions of dollars to alleviate over the next few decades.
In short switching to alcohol would save every American thousands of tax dollars a year, increase their buying power, bring home our troops to work in the 26 million new jobs created by the alcohol economy, while cleaning up our air, our water and make our farming permanently sustainable. The lower cost for energy and the fact that the money paid for energy would go to farmers, entrepreneurs and other Americans instead of foreign oil corporations would drop interest rates on all loans, make good less expensive and return America to competitiveness with the rest of the world. It would also remove the distorting influence of a handful of corporations on our political process—that is good for democracy and keeping politics honest.